Are YOU on the Right Track Part 2

“You are the conductor of your own train – it is your responsibility to set the speed and keep the fuel levels where they need to be to arrive at your chosen destination…” — Rick Cox

It is true we are the conductor of and are responsible for conducting the direction of our own train. From the time we as individuals begin making our own decisions regarding where we want to go, what we want to do, and how it will be done, etc, we are in charge of our own train or, in other words, we are in charge of our own life. Now that I am able to see what was previously unclear it no longer appears complicated. As a matter of fact, it seems simple.

To lead a successful life, one must take charge, for it is their train to conduct. You can be nice, but you will have to be firm if you plan on making sure your train takes the right track. Although others may come along for the ride, they are not in charge of your train therefore; it is up to YOU, the conductor, to see to it YOUR train arrives at that specific place, at that specific time, by traveling on those specific tracks. Those tracks are the ones you will place down by mapping out your short term as well as your long term goals.

I had previous to this believed I knew the responsibilities of the conductor. What I did not realize is there was a missing component, which applied not only to being a pastor of a church, it also applied to running a business or laying the tracks for one’s personal life. The missing component was recognizing IT WAS MY TRAIN. I alone, was responsible for its management.

This is no different than driving a car. If you are at the wheel you are the one in charge. You are the one responsible for what happens should this car get in an accident. If you have started driving, then you have already experienced how everyone riding in your car will tell you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. So, at the time when I was a pastor I didn’t recognize that love isn’t always soft and gooey. Love also has to take a firm stance for what is right. As all of us know, taking this firm stance can and does cause ill feelings in some of those involved however; doing so will protect the majority or the body as a whole.

The same applied to business for that business was my train to conduct. It was my responsibility to see to it that train traveled the tracks of success. I knew those tracks however; I was listening to others that did not. I had abdicated my responsibility to others because it was easier to do that than to fight for what I believed was right. I was concerned that making a decision to fight might expose my choice as the wrong one with the result being I would wind up hurting a friend I had placed in that position. Well, the end result of that abdication wound up being failure, not only for me but, for everyone involved.

It appears failure happened for the following reasons:

1. I believed all people could do what I had done and was doing. That is to say, ‘if I could do it anyone could do it.’ Truth is anyone can do what they set their minds to IF THEY WANT TO BAD ENOUGH, but unfortunately, not everyone will. My thought process had reduced the position of a leader, in this case my leadership, to someone that had no talent, skill or ability above anyone else. This is not true. What I have come to know and what most who lead know is not all are leaders and therefore, those who lead are in fact special.

2. I had hired leaders whom I expected to lead, but they did not have a vision for leading that specific company as it was not their vision to start the business from the beginning. This meant I had needed to impart my vision. The problem was I did not. They either floundered and failed or took the business in a direction which worked for them, not for me.

3. I had not been diligent to follow up with all of the leaders with regard to what was going on and if I agreed with what was being done. Another way of saying this is, “I did not inspect that which I did expect.”

4. When running and pastoring the church, I had felt as if MONEY was not an issue. Little did I know that the handling of money given by others carried with it great responsibility and importance. This called for the money to be used just as wisely as one would invest for one self. By not taking the leadership, I was not overseeing the wise use of that which had been given. In previous encounters I had come to the realization that money could and would separate friends. Due to my previous encounters, which wound up devastating friendships, I did my best not to allow this to happen. What I mean by this is I made the choice to allow others to take advantage of me and all of the businesses for which I was responsible. In doing so I put the livelihood of my employees in jeopardy. I finally came to realize that true friends do not “use” their friends for their own benefit. I can to the conclusion that doing what I was doing was in essence buying friends. If you are a person of character, YOU don’t need to buy your friends.

Had I taken this approach on any of the businesses or with regard to the church, I would have been a better leader for having recognized my responsibility to conduct the train in the best and most effective manner. I would have better dealt with those causing schism rather than using my nice guy approach, which allowed the trouble makers to stay around and thus cause the good to leave. By doing what I thought was ‘responding in love’, I was not leading. Had I been leading I would have been protecting the congregation as well as those businesses for I would have removed the schism. Had I taken the time to write my vision and impart it to the conductor I had hired to conduct my train, this would have made managing the expectations quite easy. At the time, doing all of that looked insurmountable and overwhelming therefore; I left the ‘management’ to the hired leader. We already know where that went.

It is important to recognize how all of this applies to your personal life as well. You must take control of your train. You must not allow others, even though you respect them, to get you off track. You must remain steadfast to your vision or you will be lead astray by the whims of those not knowing what is best for you – nor should they for it is your train.

I only wish this would have been as clear those many years ago as it appears to be now for it would have greatly reduced the amount of emotional and financial upheaval, which I have put my wife and myself through. Life however, is about learning – sometimes the lessons are harder for some than for others – guess I am one of those with a hard head.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox